As I type this it would have been my Mum’s 86th birthday. Although she’s been gone a long time now, I still miss her dearly and remember the end of her physical life vividly.
My life changed that day although I didn’t realize it until quite a bit later. Being with her in the final stages of her life and seeing her take her last breath (as I had mere months earlier with my Dad) ironically taught me about life.
In no particular order:
- Death is final and the timing rarely when expected – so don’t wait until ‘later’ for living.
- Live a life you’re proud of each day – I saw a guy in an awesome t-shirt today that said “do something today that would make your future-self proud.”
- Be yourself – rather than living a life you think others expect of you.
- What’s inside you is all you have at the end: love, joy, pride, connection, beliefs, spirit, attitude and memories – live a life positively cultivating those.
- Embrace talking about death (sometimes) with others – it means you/they are still alive and will make things easier for those left behind.
- Death is an ending – sad and true. And it’s a new beginning – profound, inspiring and full of possibilities.
- Be ALIVE – as I watched the lengthening of the pause between the in and out breaths of my parents in their final worldly minutes I truly understood presence, being, mindfulness and the unconsciousness of my breathing normally. I am grateful for both the wondrous system that is the human body and for being.
The essence is to live a life of no regrets. And most regrets for me are NOT things I’ve done; rather they are things I haven’t done.
What would you do today to not have any regrets?